The Super PAC App!

As I previously mentioned here and here, my good friend Dan Siegel has been hard at work developing the Super PAC App, an iPhone app that helps people who are interested in researching election-related commercials funded by Super PACs identify (1) which organizations are paying for the ad, (2) what other political initiatives they support, and (3) what research has been done to substantiate their claims.

Today the app was officially released in the Apple App Store. I’m obviously a bit biased, but I must say I’m very impressed. The first thing I did was pull up an election ad on YouTube and try out the Shazam-like tagging feature. While the ad was playing, I pressed the tag button in the app, and it took what seemed to be less than 10 seconds for the app to identify the commercial. It then brought me to a screen that very simply laid out the name of the super pac that created and funded the ad, a few details about the super pac, how much money they’ve raised, as well as how much they’ve spent. At the bottom of the screen the app also asks you to rate the ad as ‘Love’, ‘Fair’, ‘Fishy’, or ‘Fail’.

Once you rate the ad, you can then see the overall ratings for it by all app users. Additionally, if there are specific claims made in the ad, there are links to publications and news sources that have evaluated and/or researched claim credibility and honesty.

While I initially thought this would be the focus of the app, I found the Super Pac ad database to be surprisingly useful. It contains just about every ad released to date, and allows the user to search based on certain criteria (e.g., popularity, political party, ratings), and then you can watch and rate the ad right in the app. As far as I know, this is the most complete database of super pac ads available. With the included links to research about ad claims, I wouldn’t be surprised if this database becomes a valuable resource for journalists, commentators, and researchers over the next few months.

I spoke with one of the developers this morning and learned that they’re in the process of making the database available on their website to facilitate more ad reviews, research, and commentary from a broader audience. I think that will be extremely useful, as I’d be much more likely to watch and evaluate ads on my computer than on my phone.

If you have a few minutes, give the app a try by downloading it here. Also, please review it in the app store. Dan and his team are very interested in hearing feedback so that they can make updates and improvements as quickly as possible.

Congrats to Dan and his team on a very impressive product launch.

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